Lastinger Family Foundation makes endowment gift to FSDB

Nancy Bloch, Executive Director of Communications & Public Relations for the Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind informed local Historic City News reporters of an endowment gift of $250,000 from the Lastinger Family Foundation in honor of Dr. Thomas M. Zavelson, who provides invaluable service to the school as a member of the FSDB Board of Trustees. The Foundation encourages the FSDB community and supporters to donate as well, as they will match donations dollar for dollar, up to a maximum amount of $250,000.

A retired pediatrician, Dr. Thomas M. Zavelson was a clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of Florida College of Medicine. Previously, he was a founding and senior partner with Pediatric Associates of Gainesville, a pediatric consultant for Children’s Medical Services, chair of North Florida Regional Medical Center Department of Pediatrics, and member of North Florida Regional Hospital Board of Trustees. In 2010, he received a gubernatorial appointment to the FSDB Board of Directors.  Zavelson was reappointed in 2012 and 2016.  He is highly respected by students, families, and educators alike.

“The Dr. Thomas M. Zavelson Endowment for Student Achievement will support professional development opportunities for FSDB educators, with the ultimate goal of increasing student success in all aspects of their academic experience,” said Dr. Jeanne Glidden Prickett. “Effective teaching is known to be one of the most important school-based factors influencing student achievement.”

The Lastinger Family Foundation, based in St. Augustine, has a mission of preserving the past and investing in the future. They believe that children provide a bridge to the future, and their longtime friendship with Dr. Zavelson resulted in the plan to honor him through an endowment grant and matching commitment to FSDB.

“Dr. Zavelson, through his work with children and adults, has made a positive and lasting impact on countless individuals and groups. His compassion, loyalty, dedication, and desire to make FSDB the best school of its kind is admirable,” said Allen and Delores Taylor Lastinger. “Our family is honored to support FSDB and our dear friend Tom Zavelson.”

Donations can be made online or via check to the Dr. Thomas M. Zavelson Endowment for Student Achievement, which will be matched by the Lastinger Family Foundation up to $250,000. If you donate online (, please type the fund name in the Additional Information field. If you give via check/mail, please write the fund name in the memo line (lower left corner of check); mail the check to the attention of the Advancement Department, Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, 207 N. San Marco Avenue, St. Augustine, FL 32084. Donations can also be made via phone; contact Tanya Rhodes, FSDB Executive Director of Advancement, at 904-827-2235.